How does one go from rocker to skydiver to winemaker?
“Very carefully, my friend. Very carefully,” said Greg Baiocchi, owner and winemaker of Baiocchi Wines.
Greg toured as professional bass player in the 80s and 90s with the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Alice Cooper, before taking a leap (literally) into competitive skydiving. For Greg, taking the road less traveled is the only way to go no matter how far the journey.
“My passion for making great wine was born from a passion for enjoying it with friends after our skydiving adventures,” Greg said.
“My hope is that my friend who opened so many airplane doors for me, and a lot of fine wine, finds himself someday sitting with friends, post jump, enjoying a bottle of Baiocchi wine.”
The Genesis of Baiocchi Wines
They say genetic traits can skip generations. Greg will argue passions can as well. Greg remembers watching his grandfather, Maggio Baiocchi, make wine with old equipment in his basement. The smell alone was enough to dissuade his father from winemaking, but not for Greg.
Even at five years of age, he was entranced.
“The sights, sounds and smells of watching my grandfather make wine are still vividly alive for me today,” Greg said.
Many decades later, thanks to his grandfather, skydiving adventures and his wife, Sharon, Greg decided to study viticulture and winemaking through the U.C. Davis Extension Winemaking Program.
“Sharon opened my eyes not so much to the person I was supposed to become, but the person I came to rediscover,” Greg said.
Greg is now earning accolades for his Rhone blends - as Wine Spectator Magazine observed, “some of the most exciting in the area.”
Although Sharon passed away last year after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer, her legacy lives on.
“When I said we can't do this. Sharon was the driving force behind starting our own label. She is the namesake for our signature wine Fearless,” Greg said.
Now, their son Nicholas is preparing to enter the family business after completing a formal education in Wine Business Management.
Greg is also in the process of launching new labels for his wines.
A Winemaker Who Rocks
Today, Greg tends to their 40 acres of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo at his vineyard in Fairplay, with the company of his mini-donkeys, sheep, goats and famous pot belly pig, Bella Bella - star of the 2011 movie “Seeker and Fetch.”
It’s not unusual to find Greg pouring wine while taking breaks to play bass guitar with other musicians during the summer at his tasting room.